Did you know that our government has been in caretaker mode for some time now, since the government was dissolved by the Governor General on 9 May 2016. The Governor General dissolved the Parliament on the advice of the Prime Minister, the reason given being the inability to pass three separate pieces of legislature.
The caretaker government does not exist only when there is a double dissolution however, but occurs whenever an election is called. Whilst not enforceable by law, successive governments have agreed and accepted that during the period preceding an election for the House of Representatives, the government assumes this ‘caretaker role’. This is because the Executive branch of the government cannot be held accountable for its decisions in the normal manner, and every general election carries the possibility of a change of government. The caretaker status continues until the result is clear or, if there is a change of government, the new government is appointed. This appointment of the new government, swearing them in and the ceremony, can take some time.
What does it actually mean to have a caretaker government?
The government avoids making major policy changes or decisions, entering into major contracts or making significant appointments. Obviously the government needs to continue ruling, but the status quo is maintained until the new or incumbent government takes the helm.
If you are interested in reading more information about caretaker governments, you can read the government's guidelines by following this link.